Early modern female book ownership is a relatively new field of scholarly interest, but that interest has been growing in recent years. Below are resources both on book ownership and on women and book history more generally.
Katherine Acheson, ed., Early Modern English Marginalia: Material Readings in Early Modern Culture. Routledge, 2018.
Annotated Books Online, a database of early books with marginalia and “a virtual research environment for scholars and students interested in historical reading practices.”
Robert G. Babcock et al., A Book of Her Own: An Exhibition of Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Yale University Library That Were Owned by Women Before 1700. Beinecke, 2005. Contains list of books in the Yale University Library with evidence of female book ownership and essays on the topic.
Sarah Birt, “Mary Marsden #HerBook,” post on an example of early modern female book ownership on the blog A Fashionable Business, https://afashionablebusiness.wordpress.com/2020/03/08/mary-marsden-herbook/
Caroline Bowden, “Building Libraries in Exile: The English Convents and Their Book Collections in the Seventeenth Century,” British Catholic History 32.3 (2015): 343– 82.
Caroline Bowden, “The Library of Mildred Cooke Cecil, Lady Burghley,” The Library 6.1 (2005): 3– 29.
Heidi Brayman Hackel, Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy. Cambridge University Press, 2009. Contains a chapter on women readers.
British Armorial Bindings Database, by John Morris and the University of Toronto. Allows for searching for owners and the stamps they placed on bookbindings.
The British Library’s Database of Bookbindings enables looking for ownership based on individualized bindings.
The British Library also has a useful Guide to Researching Provenance online.
Andrew Cambers, “Readers’ Marks and Religious Practice: Margaret Hoby’s Marginalia,” in Tudor Books and Readers: Materiality and the Construction of Meaning, ed. John N. King. Cambridge University Press, 2010. 211– 31.
Center for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL)’s database Book Owners Online, a fantastic new resource for provenance research that includes many women. To filter by women, click here.
CERL’s Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), a database “specifically designed to record and search the material evidence (or copy specific, post-production evidence and provenance information) of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc.” A search for the phrase “gender:1001” retrieves all female owners of incunabula that have been recorded in either the main MEI database of individual copies or the database of owners. The search may be limited to women owners active before 1800.
Julie Crawford, “Reconsidering Early Modern Women’s Reading, or, How Margaret Hoby Read Her Mornay,” Huntington Library Quarterly 73.2 (2010): 193– 223.
Anne J. Cruz and Rosilie Hernández, eds., Women’s Literacy in Early Modern Spain and the New World. Ashgate, 2011; Routledge, 2016. Several essays on women’s reading habits and libraries.
Early Book Owners in Britain (EBOB), a searchable database of early book ownership from 1450-1550.
Early English Playbooks, containing digitized playbooks from the Boston Public Library digitized playbooks. A source for a small number of female-owned books.
The website Frances Wolfreston Hor Bouks by Sarah Lindenbaum aims to list all books that belonged to Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677).
The website of the Grollier Club and in particular its Vimeo page, which features videos of events such as the symposium Women in the Book Arts, held in January 2020.
The blog of the library of Innerpeffray features a post on Women Borrowers in the 18th century with examples of the kinds of books women read. “Meet the Borrowers: Innerpeffray’s 18th Century Women,” posted 10 November 2020.
Leah Knight, Micheline White, and Elizabeth Saur, eds. Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain. University of Michigan Press, 2018. Collection of essays on female book ownership “rediscovering and reframing the rich and multifaceted history of early modern British women’s book ownership and library compilation.” Essays by numerous scholars, including Micheline White, Mark Empey, and Sarah Lindenbaum on the topic of women’s libraries and reading.
Sarah Lindenbaum, Written in the Margent: Frances Wolfreston Revealed. Blog post on The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger, June 2018.
Erin A. McCarthy, Doubtful Readers: Print, Poetry, and the Reading Public in Early Modern England. Oxford University Press, 2020.
Erin A. McCarthy, “Reading Women Reading Donne in Manuscript and Printed Miscellanies: A Quantitative Approach,” The Review of English Studies 69 (2018), pp. 661–685, https://doi.org/10.1093/res/hgy018) doi.org/10.1093/res/hg….
David McKitterick, “Women and Their Books in Seventeenth- Century England: The Case of Elizabeth Puckering,” Library, 7th ser., 1.4 (2000): 363.
MCRS Rare Books Blog, from the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, with blog posts that sometimes feature women and female ownership.
Femke Molekamp, Women and the Bible in Early Modern England: Religious Reading and Writing. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Kate Narveson, Bible Readers and Lay Writers in Early Modern England: Gender and Self- Definition in an Emergent Writing Culture. Ashgate, 2012.
Michael Pearse, “Four seventeenth-century inventories of Donibristle House, Fife.” Retrieved from his page on academia.edu, December 2018. Lists books owned by several women.
David Pearson’s English Book Owners in the Seventeenth Century, which includes among its listings a number of female book owners.
David Pearson, Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook. Revised edition. Oxford University Press, 2019.
The Perdita Project catalogs female-authored manuscripts in the free version. The paid version includes digital facsimiles.
The websites of the Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts Company (PRB&M), with illustrations and information and special website catalogues devoted to women and to provenance.
Edward Potten, “The Library and Commonplace Books of Mary Booth of Dunham Massey.” The Library 23.4 (2022): 399-421.
Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE), sponsored by the Folger Library, enables searching for women’s book collections.
The Provenance Online Project (POP), from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania.
The RECIRC project, which studies reception and circulation of writing by women, includes a component on book ownership. See for instance, Bronagh McShane, “Inscriptions in the Galway Dominican Convent Library Collection,” posted August 10, 2017.
Jennifer Richards and Fred Schurink, eds., “The Textuality and Materiality of Reading in Early Modern England,” Special Issue of Huntington Library Quarterly 73.3 (2010).
Renae Satterley, “Rare Book of the Month: July 2019,” a post on a book donated by Katherine Wyndsor on the Middle Temple Library blog. https://middletemplelibrary.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/rare-book-of-the-month-july-2019/
Renae Satterley, “Rare Book of the Month: August 2019,” a post on a book printed by a woman on the Middle Temple Library blog. https://middletemplelibrary.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/rare-book-of-the-month-august-2019/
Renae Satterley, “Rare Book of the Month: October 2019,” a post on a book owned by Anne Prowtingon the Middle Temple Library blog. https://middletemplelibrary.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/rare-book-of-the-month-october-2019/
“Books and Reading in Shakespeare’s England,” a podcast in the Shakespeare Unlimited series produced by the Folger Shakespeare Library, with Jason Scott Warren and Stuart Kells. The program concentrates on male readers, but provides useful information on how people used and read books.
Helen Smith, “Grossly Material Things”: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England. Oxford University Press, 2012. Contains a chapter on women as readers of books.
Rosalind Smith, “Le Pouvoir de faire dire: Marginalia in Mary Queen of Scots’ Book of Hours,” in Material Cultures of Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. Patricia Pender and Rosalind Smith. Palgrave, 2014. 55– 75.
Edith Snook. Women, Reading, and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England. Ashgate, 2005.
Catherine Sutherland, “Lady Damaris Masham,” a post on books by Masham, owned by Astell, for Magdalene College Libraries blog. https://magdlibs.com/2020/03/06/lady-damaris-masham/
Catherine Sutherland, “Mary Astell,” a post on books owned by Astell for Magdalene College Libraries blog. https://magdlibs.com/2019/03/08/mary-astell/
A blog post on Catherine Sutherland’s discoveries of Astell ownership: Tom Almeroth Williams, “Ahead of her time: Magdalen College Cambridge has discovered a treasure trove of women’s intellectual history.” https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/mary-astell-collection-magdalene-college
UK RED, the Reading Experience Database, which allows searching for evidence of readership and limiting by time period and gender.
Susie West, “Rare Books and Rare Women: Gender and Private Libraries 1660-1830,” in Gendering Library History, ed. E. Kerslake and N. Moody. John Moores University, 2000. 179-95.
Eric White, “Rare book working group examines ‘Her Book’,” Notabilia, October 2018. Information on working group at Princeton looking at evidence of female book ownership in the holdings of the Princeton University Library.
Alex Wingate’s Bibliotecas Privadas de Navarra websites with invetories of books owned by Spanish women, with websites devoted to Mariana Vicenta de Echeverri, Ana de Sarasa, and Maria de Ceniceros.
Heather Wolfe, Uncancelling the Cancelled: Recovering Obliterated Owners of Old Books. Blog post on The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger. April 2019.
Heather Wolfe, “Reading Bells and Loose Papers: Reading and Writing Practices of the English Benedictine Nuns of Cambrai and Paris,” in Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Writing. Ed. Victoria E. Burke and Jonathan Gibson. Ashgate, 2004. 135– 56.
Women’s Book History: a full bibliography of all works related to women and book history, compiled by Cait Coker and Kate Ozment.
Georgianna Ziegler, Early Modern Women Buying Books: The Evidence. Blog post on The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger. June 2020.
Georgianna Ziegler, What Were Women Reading? A Dive into the Folger Vault. Shakespeare and Beyond blog, produced by the Folger. January 2020.
Georgianna Ziegler, Women Marking the Text. Blog post on The Collation: Research and Exploration at the Folger. February 2012.